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Home for a week

Nearby market

Not usually found in the US

France this time of year has real night time and real day time. Our bodies are much less confused, and we are finally sleeping.

We are guests of an old friend of Mo's in this house just south and slightly west of Bergerac. The house has five expansive bedrooms each with bath, a dorm for four or so more, two kitchens, a pool, laundry, wine cellar currently used for a pool table, and two dining areas each with a table large enough for a dozen diners. Quite the change from our room in Bordeaux, in which we did not have enough space between and bed and walls to get past one another.

We are surrounded by wine country. We have been told we'll get an introductory talk tomorrow followed by a wine tour.

There are nine people including three couples sharing the house. There are three rental cars among the nine for running around. Most activities will be by consensus. Early signs of communication are encouraging.

Those of you who know me well will understand that I am somewhat or maybe naturally reserved. However, I am using my social skills and am especially intent on listening.

For example, someone asked me if I ride a bike. Yes, I said, I tour. Then it was the turn of everyone else to describe their personal bicycle crashes, each worse than the one described before. I try not to top the stories of others.

This morning the nine of us car pooled to a local market. Issigeac is a charming medieval era village. The market was a fun mix of genuine hand made baskets and the like, crap such as China-made "Frozen" and other Disney characters on blankets, wine, food, soap, and so on. Of course I bought meat pies, so I am stocked for breakfast for the next few days.

The house is amazingly quiet. At night, we can hear the bull frogs and geese on the pond. I'm trying to take advantage of the quiet by working on one of my scripts.

The script is a rambling wreck of narrative and exposition that I am struggling to revise without resorting to sketch comedy. For those who have not been paying attention or don't know, I am learning how to write stage plays. In South America, I worked on a different script during those horribly long truck rides.

But enough about me.

While the Swedes were generous with English, many French are reluctant with English. The younger the person, the more likely the willingness to use English. Sweden posted almost all signs such as historic markers in Swedish and English. Here, it is French, Merci.

Everything closes around noon and reopens between two and four. Almost everything is closed on Sunday, at least outside the city. I'm not sure if dinners are as late as in Italy or Spain, but as we mostly dine from grocery stores that may not matter.

All day, I have had a few lines of opera stuck in my head. They happen to be lines from Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd. They go, "Don't like the French, don't like the French, their hoppity-skippity ways, and their damn Monsignor." These lines do not necessarily represent the views of the author.

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